Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) suffer from numerous impairments in social interaction that affect both their mental and bodily coordination with others. We explored here whether interpersonal motor coordination may be an important key for understanding the profound social problems of children with ASD. We employed a set of experimental techniques to evaluate not only traditional cognitive measures of social competence but also the dynamical structure of social coordination by using dynamical measures of social motor coordination and analyzing the time series records of behavior. Preliminary findings suggest that children with ASD were equivalent to typically developing children on many social performance outcome measures. However, significant relationships were found between cognitive social measures (e.g., intentionality) and dynamical social motor measures. In addition, we found that more perceptually-based measures of social coordination were not associated with social motor coordination. These findings suggest that social coordination may not be a unitary construct and point to the promise of this multi-method and process-oriented approach to analyzing social coordination as an important pathway for understanding ASD-specific social deficits.
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- autism spectrum disorders
- social coordination
- social competence
- time series analyses